MCF Rare Wine Ltd.
Brovia 2012: The Excellence Continues

Here is my first offer for 2012 Barolo.

I find myself wondering how this amazing it is that we, as Barolo lovers, have had such great luck over the last 16 vintages.

Since the great 1996s hit the market, there have only been four vintages that would be considered 'not great' and, really, only 2 complete duds -- and those happened back-to-back in '02/'03.

Plus, the other 'weaker' (for lack of a better word) vintages  (2005 and 2009) really weren't bad.

In fact, my favorite wines in those two vintages were made by today's producer!

Here's a quick re-cap, speaking generally, of course --

1996  Classic, an old-school Barolo fan's dream
1997  Warm, big vintage, with big press
1998  Pristine, juicy, totally under-appreciated
1999  Powerful, structured, fantastic (possibly my favorite)
2000 Warm, like 1997, but with better structure
2001  An absolute classic, structured, balanced, beautiful (definitely in my top 3)
2002 A disaster, most producers didn't even make Barolo
2003 The heat wave/drought in Europe, tremendously tannic
2004 Another classic in the realm of '96/'01
2005 A lot like 1998, elegant and bright (BROVIA, made lovely wines)
2006 Powerful and structured, not as good as '99, but very nice
2007 Another big, roast-y vintage like '97/'00 that produced a lot of great wines
2008 Elegant, perfumed and finely structured.  Very under-appreciated.
2009 Challenging, high-alcohol.  Not terrible, just not great.
2010 Amazing vintage w/huge press.  Time will tell vs '96/'99/'01/'04.
2011 Juicy, powerful, showy, delicious, deceptively structured.  Underappreciated.

That takes us up to the current release hitting the market -- 2012.  This a vintage that, yet again, is deserving of your attention, but, due to the fact that Piedmont is batting .750 over the last 16 releases, it will probably be largely overlooked.

This kind of fatigue happens and, of course, I understand why.

However, that doesn't mean you're getting off without me imploring you to give these some serious consideration -- and Brovia's a great place to start.

If you love your Barolo to bright, flowery, perfumed, earthy, powerful, structured, long lived and mesmerizing (how's that for a list?) other words, a perfect representation of the eternally beautiful Barolo paradox, then Brovia is as good a producer as you'll find, especially when you're not even spending $80/btl.

And 2012 is one of those types of vintages where Brovia excels.

I was having this conversation at dinner with a few guys last week -- which are the best producers and, of those, which are you most fond of lately.

There are the five Legends of the traditional Barolo landscape (B. Mascarello, G. Mascarello, G. Rinaldi, G. Conterno, Giacosa and now we should really add a sixth in Cappellano), a group who are unrivaled.  But just below them, division 1a, are some unbelievably good producers who make great traditionally-styled wine that, in any given vintage, can outshine any of the above.

These are guys like (to name a few) Vajra, Cavallotto, Massolino and definitely Brovia.  In fact, I will argue, over the ten or so years, no producer has been as consistently excellent as Brovia.  Sure, all the greats made great wine too, but Brovia always manages to get the best out of every vintage.

So here we are with their 2012s.

If I had to sum the Brovia '12s up quickly, I would say that they, are a lot like 1998s.   They have a lot to offer in the early going, but, don't be fooled -- these will have a lot to offer over the coming decades as well.

When you have a bunch of good vintages, years like 1998 and 2012 are talked about as 'drinking' vintages, but I've had a lot of really good 1998s lately, many of which aren't even close to full maturity.

So don't be so quick to put these in your early drinking stack.

These 2012s from Brovia showcase the precision, aromatics and elegance that is the essence of Brovia...and there's a nice firm backbone here as well.

The Garblet Sué is as friendly and joyful as ever.

The Rocche is the start athlete -- muscular, powerful and bold.

The Ca'Mia is the most well-rounded.

The Villero is the stubbornly structured introvert.

A pretty nice family, indeed.

All prices NET.  All magnums very limited.

Matt Franco

MCF Rare Wine, Ltd
237 West 13th Street
New York 10011